Virus Vol. #2 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2003
What They Say
Ever vigilant, the forces of S.T.A.N.D. are confronted with some of the Incubator?s more subtle strategies and find themselves waging war across cyberspace. When an insidious form of the Virus begins to infect women by means of their cybernetic implants, the team?s star hacker Mirei is hot on the case.
But when she herself becomes trapped within the Net ? a helpless victim of the Virus ? her teammate Erika must dive into cyberspace to act as a diversion for the aggressive invader while Serge attempts to locate and free Mirei. Could this all be a trap designed to lure Serge into direct contact with the Incubator?
On another front, the Virus has invaded the brain implant of a mentally unstable, power-hungry human host known as "The Brain Lizard." As acquaintances from both Serge?s and Mirei?s past become targets for this new menace, it becomes increasingly clear that the Virus not only knows many dark secrets about Serge?s past, but also seems to share a history with S.T.A.N.D.?s leader Raven!
What information is Raven withholding from the others, and what mysteries have Erika and Serge unlocked during their encounters in cyberspace?
The S.T.A.N.D. team is back in the second volume of Virus Buster Serge as Erika?s boobs help provide the final defense line between man and the deadly Virus.
I listened to the original Japanese stereo mix for my primary listening session. The music score shines throughout the release. Dialogue is clear and the sound effects didn?t present any distortions. While writing the review, I listened to Manga?s 5.1 remix, which I?m glad to say doesn?t sound hollow. Sound effects and music are played typically from the left and right speakers with just voice coming out of the center. It?s really quite nice.
This late night 1997 TV release features a muted color release, with no signs of cross coloration or bleeding. The encoding appears grainy though, which is probably derived from the source material. It does give a grittier look to the show. I noticed numerous blotches in the print, which I found surprising for such a recent show. A little evidence of aliasing was also present.
The front cover features Erika and Serge on the cover, plus an image of Serge in his Variable Gear outfit in the back. I?m surprised Manga didn?t choose a cover that had a bit more action on it. Volume information is on the front and spine. The back lists the episode, and gives a one line summary of each episode. Manga did forget to change the extras listed on the back, as they list the extras included on volume one. There is an insert inside listing the chapter stops and the history of Masami Obari, the character and mech designer.
The front menu features the opening music playing with various images from episodes on this DVD playing in the background. It?s nicely done, but the transition as the menu repeats could use some work. Volume 2 is displayed in the upper right corner. You can either select play, scene access, set-up, or features. The scene access lets you select one of the eight chapter stops. Sadly, there is no indicator of what episode number you are watching. In the language menu, there is no indicator on what choice you?ve selected.
The extras on this DVD are lacking. We get the same character profiles as the first volume, a photo gallery of shots you can just watch in the show and all the previews for the episode in the next volume. I don?t really consider any of these extras, since the character profiles are just a repeat of the first volume.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The opening and ending sequences on this volume are the same edited sequences that Manga used in the first volume. Hopefully they will get it right for the last volume.
With our characters introduced in the first volume, it?s time to explore their backgrounds a bit and advance the plot. Yes folks, there is a plot.
In the first episode, Incubating the Succubus, various women are being killed in their dreams by the Virus through the use of cybernetic implants. In order to confront the problem, Erika makes use of her own cybernetic implants, and encounters the enemy which takes the form of Serge. The real Serge also has a few encounters in cyberspace, as the Incubator, the possible source behind the Virus, directly confronts him. More questions than answers are presented in this episode.
After their encounter with the enemy, Serge and Erika are questioned heavily by authorities at the start of Behold Chance or Die as they are the first people to survive an encounter with the Virus. Erika learns of an artificial satellite that was launched seven years ago, but seems to be a part of the mystery surrounding Virus. A massive cover up operation seems to be underway by the Zainell Corporation, which also setup the S.T.A.N.D. organization to combat the Virus. When the S.T.A.N.D. team is called to take care of another threat, Serge encounters the Brain Lizzard, a man who has direct contact with the Virus.
Our third episode, Another Boy Missing, is a character driven episode focusing on fifteen year old Mirei, our team?s computer specialist. She was a hacker until she snooped where she didn?t belong. The only way she got out of a prison sentence was going to work for S.T.A.N.D. As the Virus kills other hackers she?s known from her past, Mirei takes a direct approach in order to solve this mystery.
Lastly, Behold Change of Die II continues the ongoing saga when Brain Lizzard directly infiltrates S.T.A.N.D. headquarters. There seems to be a connection between Serge and Brain Lizzard, and he has the answers to many events that happened in the past, including Serge?s.
Unlike the first volume, there?s a lot more dialogue in each episode in this volume as we try to learn how the Virus and the Incubator came into existence. Raven, the team?s leader, is hiding a lot of information from everyone, and seems to have his own agenda. The show presents enough plot to keep you interested, which was good for me since I don?t find the character designs very interesting at all. There are still plenty of action sequences, but the show isn?t as reliant on it in this volume. If you really like shows with combat suits, and a bit of cyberpunk, Virus is probably the show for you.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Galleries,Character Biographies
Toshiba 3109 to a Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2